Taking it personally: small 'l' leadership


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A presentation given as part of the Leaders Cafe Foundation leadership webinar marathon on World Day of Interconnectness 090909.

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Taking it personally: small 'l' leadership

  1. 1. Heather Davis Australia www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 1www.leadershipexcellence.com TAKING IT PERSONALLY: SMALL ‘l’ LEADERSHIP Australia
  2. 2. Today’s agenda  Speaker introduction  Leading in a (super)complex environment  The knowledge-era  Small ‘l’ leadership  Interconnectness www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 2www.leadershipexcellence.com  Interconnectness  Interaction and Q&A session
  3. 3. Heather Davis  Holds a Bachelor of Business, Master of Professional Education and Training  Is currently enrolled in a PhD program at RMIT, Australia. Longheld professional and research interest in leadership development for the knowledge era.  Actively associated with the Centre for Leadership Excellence, LeadCap and Leaders Café www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 3www.leadershipexcellence.com Leadership Excellence, LeadCap and Leaders Café Foundation  Management and Leadership experience in the higher education sector in Australia and an Assoc of Tertiary Education Management executive committee member. Catch Heather’s PhD blog at leadershipliteracies. wordpress.com Professional Memberships include: • British Academy of Management • Society for Organizational Learning (SoL) • International Leadership Association
  4. 4. Spoilt for choice in a complex world… www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 4www.leadershipexcellence.com
  5. 5. How Volatile? How Uncertain? How Complex? How Ambiguous? www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 5www.leadershipexcellence.com
  6. 6. Example Workplace diversity  Generations  Gender  Religions Nationalities www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 6www.leadershipexcellence.com  Nationalities  Cultures  Mindsets  Etc...
  7. 7. Values as a mediator of VUCA Perhaps the most important role of values is that they help us interpret and act on the oceans of information that we process every day. They serve as central organizing principles www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 7www.leadershipexcellence.com They serve as central organizing principles that help us to decide how to address complex situations and problems as they bombard us. O'Brien, W. J. 1998. The soul of corporate leadership: guidelines for values-centred governance, Pegasus Communications, p. 5
  8. 8. Defining Leadership  Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth (Burns, 1978)  Lead people and manage things www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 8www.leadershipexcellence.com  Lead people and manage things  Leaders are in the business of energy management (ket de Vries)
  9. 9. Energy Management Leaders are in the business of energy management - Manfred kets de Vries www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 9www.leadershipexcellence.com
  10. 10. Leadership today... www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 10www.leadershipexcellence.com
  11. 11. Typical Thinking Patterns… From Machine-Centric Industrial Era To Eco-Centric Knowledge-Intensive Era www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 11www.leadershipexcellence.com
  12. 12. Eras…Eras… www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 12www.leadershipexcellence.com Staron, M. et al 2006. Life based learning: a strength based approach for capability development in vocational and technical education: a report on the research project "Designing professional development for the knowledge era". Sydney, TAFE NSW ICVET, p. 23
  13. 13. The knowledge era The knowledge era is characterised by impermanence, turbulence, multiple competing agendas and priorities, diversity in ideologies, ambiguity, multiple roles, irritations, uncertainty www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 13www.leadershipexcellence.com ambiguity, multiple roles, irritations, uncertainty and contradictions and a great amount of energy and creativity. It is also the ‘intangible era’, where instead of goods and services the growing economic commodity is knowledge itself. Staron, et al.,(2006). Life based learning: a report on the research project "Designing professional development for the knowledge era". Sydney: TAFE NSW.
  14. 14. The Conceptual Age www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 14www.leadershipexcellence.com Pink, D. H. 2005. A whole new mind : moving from the information age to the conceptual age, Allen & Unwin. (Graphically depicted by Garr Reynolds)
  15. 15. It is personal! Small ‘l’ leadership  Leadership is a verb  Moving from a deficit model to a strengths based approach to leadership, learning and life  Locus of responsibility is now with the individual  Self referential logic www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 15www.leadershipexcellence.com  Self referential logic
  16. 16. Leadership is a verb Leaders have a bias for action Executives execute www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 16www.leadershipexcellence.com Barriers to action: • Uncertainty • Fear • Dissonance
  17. 17. Moving to a strengths based approach • Focusing on what is working well and investing in that • Enabling individuals and organisations to be the www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 17www.leadershipexcellence.com • Enabling individuals and organisations to be the best they can be • From an ecological perspective, does not displace what works
  18. 18. Removing Mental Blocks to Action • The Right Answer • That’s Not Logical • Follow The Rules • That’s Not My Area • Don’t Be Foolish • Avoid Ambiguity www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 18www.leadershipexcellence.com • Follow The Rules • Be Practical • Play Is Frivolous • Avoid Ambiguity • To Err Is Wrong • I’m Not Creative von Oech R. (1998). A Whack on the Side of the Head
  19. 19. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 19www.leadershipexcellence.com
  20. 20. Maslow's Self-Actualising characteristics • creative, inventive and original • keen sense of reality • see problems in terms of challenges and situations requiring solutions • need for privacy and comfortable being alone • accepting others as they are • comfortable with oneself • a few close intimate friends rather than many surface relationships • sense of humour directed at oneself or the human condition, rather than at the expense of others www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 20www.leadershipexcellence.com being alone • reliant on own experiences and judgement • not susceptible to social pressures • democratic, fair and non-discriminating • socially compassionate - possessing humanity rather than at the expense of others • spontaneous and natural - true to oneself, rather than being how others want • excited and interested in everything, even ordinary things • seek peak experiences that leave a lasting impression
  21. 21. Argyris’s Ladder of Inference www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 21www.leadershipexcellence.com
  22. 22. I draw conclusions I adopt beliefs I take actions based on my beliefs ‘Working’ the Ladder www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 22www.leadershipexcellence.com Observable “Data” & experiences I make Assumptions I select “data” I add meanings I draw conclusions
  23. 23. Assumptions and our ladder of inference As a mediator against self-referential logic… “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew.” www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 23www.leadershipexcellence.com world anew.” Albert Einstein “It may surprise people, but I have found that we all have a strong propensity to hold inconsistent thoughts and actions, and that we aren’t very effective observers of our own behaviour: we tend to judge our behaviour by our intentions, while we judge other people’s behaviour by its outcomes” Chris Argyris interview, 2008.
  24. 24. Leadership literacies for the knowledge era  Leaders are in the business of energy management  Leadership as stewardship  Living asset stewardship  Leaders as teachers, stewards, mentors  Locus of responsibility has shifted to the individual  Shift to other-centredness  Holistic worldview – interconnectness www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 24www.leadershipexcellence.com  Holistic worldview – interconnectness  Triple bottom line governance  Sustainability  Transparency  Focus on ‘soft’ skills – e.g. values, empathy  Relationships  Leadership/Followership  Learning Metabolism  Making Thinking Visible  Creativity  Apperception
  25. 25. Interconnectness People want to be connected and to feel that their livelihoods and professions matter. Serving and enhancing life matter to them because they know their lives depend on other living assets, including the health of their neighbourhoods, their market systems, Earth’s ecosystems, and www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 25www.leadershipexcellence.com their market systems, Earth’s ecosystems, and the biospheric web of life. When people feel so connected, they are more likely to reach their full potential in terms of their intelligence, adaptability, family life, self motivation, creativity and energy. Bragdon, J. H. 2006. Profit for life, how capitalism excels: case studies in Living Asset Management. Cambridge, MA, Society for Organization Learning Inc.
  26. 26. Relationships You and I are the same thing. I cannot hurt you without harming myself. - Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 26www.leadershipexcellence.com Conversations First Then Relationships Then Transactions NESTA model Harwood, R. 2008. Connecting Dots and Valuing Networks, NESTA Connect Blog. UK, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts
  27. 27. Creative Capital  Human Creativity is multi-faceted and multi- dimensional. - It requires a supportive environment that provides social, cultural and economic stimuli. www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 27www.leadershipexcellence.com  Creative process is not just individual but social. - Forms of organisation are necessary but elements of organisation can and frequently stifle creativity.
  28. 28. Creativity and Change The idea that change is a transitional phase between two stable states is ridiculed by everyday experiences in our globalized world. Constant change is the actual state of our www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 28www.leadershipexcellence.com Constant change is the actual state of our living world. We should seek to comprehend, incorporate and develop that which makes life worth living through change, not against it. Jascha Rohr www.participatory-design.com
  29. 29. Leadership as Stewardship Caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built. Whereas, until recently, caring was largely person to person, now most of it is mediated through institutions - often large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always competent; sometimes corrupt. www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 29www.leadershipexcellence.com competent; sometimes corrupt. If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant of existing major institutions by new regenerative forces operating within them. Robert K. Greenleaf, The Institution as Servant
  30. 30. Making Thinking Visible The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 30www.leadershipexcellence.com Alvin Toffler
  31. 31. Making Thinking Visible Visible Thinking has a double goal:  to cultivate students' thinking skills and dispositions  to deepen content learning. Cultivating thinking dispositions means www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 31www.leadershipexcellence.com Cultivating thinking dispositions means strengthening thinking skills associated with curiosity, concern for truth and understanding, a creative mindset, not just being skilled but also alert to thinking and learning opportunities and eager to take them. Making Thinking Visible Research Team, Harvard http://www.pz.harvard.edu/vt/VisibleThinking_html_files/VisibleThinking1.html
  32. 32. VUCA  Volatility yields to vision Uncertain yields to understanding Complexity yields to clarity Ambiguity yields to agility www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 32www.leadershipexcellence.com Johansen, B. (2009) Leaders make the future: 10 new leadership skills for an uncertain world
  33. 33. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more www.leaderscafefoundation.webs.comSlide 33www.leadershipexcellence.com dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. John Quincy Adams, 6th US President